Premier John Horgan introduced his new cabinet on Thursday, saying it will focus on keeping people healthy and safe through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Horgan says the pandemic has turned the lives of British Columbians upside down, and while we have come a long way together, “we have much further to go.”
Many of the ministers from the previous government remain in their portfolios, but with Carole James no longer in the legislature, Selina Robinson has been handed the position of Finance Minister.
Newly elected MLA, Josie Osbourne, Tofino’s former mayor, takes over Municipal Affairs.
Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson has become Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, replacing Judy Darcy.
Selina Robinson’s move from Municipal Affairs to become BC’s Finance Minister caught North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring’s eye.
“The really positive thing out of this for me is Selina Robinson as Finance Minister. Selina had the housing and municipal affairs file before, and she was very committed to that.”
Siebring says she will bring “an appreciation in the finance ministry of the needs of municipalities; of the needs in the housing sector.”
He’s also glad former Tofino mayor Josie Osborne is the new Municipal Affairs Minister.
According to Siebring, she has “a good feel for needs of local government,” and is a good choice for municipalities.
He is also pleased to see Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson become the new Mental Health and Addictions Minister.
Substance abuse and its related problems is an issue in the Cowichan Valley, and Siebring hopes the appointment comes with more funding.
“I’m really hoping that Premier Horgan not just appoints a minister, but actually resources that ministry in a way that hasn’t been done before, I think Sheila’s a good voice at the table for that.”
Malcolmson is the former MP for Nanaimo Ladysmith and Siebring is hopeful that her federal connections will help get Health Canada funding for addiction and mental health services.